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Posted at 2:49 PM ET, 08/23/2010

Is Fantasia Barrino taking the right steps following her suicide attempt?

By Jen Chaney

Fantasia Barrino: recovering in the spotlight. (AP)

Fantasia Barrino is already speaking to the media about her recent overdose on sleeping pills and aspirin. Tomorrow morning, she'll make an appearance on "Good Morning America." And tomorrow night, she'll speak in even more detail during an episode of VH1's "Behind the Music."

People magazine reports that during the VH1 interview -- which airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on the same network that will air season two of the singer's reality show, "Fantasia For Real," in September -- Barrino confirms that her OD was a suicide attempt.

"I just sat in the closet and looked at the mirror and took all the pills in the bottle," she says. "I wanted to go to sleep and just be at peace. I knew exactly what I was doing. You can't accidentally take a whole bottle of pills."

Some of the comments on People's Web site blast Barrino for the "selfishness" of her behavior, which seems unfair. Anyone who would take an entire bottle of pills is clearly at a low point and deserves empathy, support, rest and the opportunity to recuperate via therapy or whatever means seems most appropriate. However, I do think it's fair to question the wisdom of doing all these interviews, as well as some of her other recent choices.

Before going any further, let me be clear: I don't think Barrino swallowed all those pills as part of some well-orchestrated promotional plan. But it does seem she may be moving a bit too quickly to jump back into the media spotlight.

In addition to booking those interviews, Barrino also was spotted last week chatting in a North Carolina park with Antwaun Cook, the man whose wife has threatened Barrino with a lawsuit on the grounds that Barrino's affair with Cook broke up the marriage. While the two engaged in conversation, cameras nearby were capturing all the details, presumably -- as People speculates -- for future episodes of "Fantasia For Real."

And that's where Barrino's behavior starts to seem ill-advised at best, and exploitative at worst. As a public figure, the former "American Idol" contestant's suicide attempt naturally became a public matter. But I think most would agree that an attempt to end one's life is about as personal and private as it gets. Talking about it on television just two weeks after the incident -- and potentially making the episode a plot point in your reality show -- doesn't seem like the best way to put one's priorities back in order.

Of course, one could argue that Barrino already had locked in a drop date for her CD and must honor her commitment to the record label to do proper promotion. That's fine. But ditching the reality show -- or at least postponing the start of season-two -- would seem like the appropriate move, to maintain Barrino's integrity as well as her health.

Hopefully Barrino will see her suicide attempt as a wake-up call, one that reminds her that there is something respectable and necessary about keeping some private matters private.

By Jen Chaney  | August 23, 2010; 2:49 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Music  
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I didn't realize vh1's "Behind the Music" was even still on. Time to start the pool on what time during the Fantasia broadcast the announcer will say, "and then she hit Rock Bottom." Feel better, Fantasia.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 23, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry but I'm in the camp that says the "suicide" attempt was a desperate ploy to garner publicity for Fantasia, her album and her reality program. I don't believe the drama surrounding Fantasia coincided so neatly with both her album and her reality show. This woman knows what she's doing. She's tacky and trampy. I remember cheering Fantasia on when she won Idol. Now I wouldn't pay a dime for anything to do with her.

Posted by: Marving1 | August 23, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE Fantasia and wish her the best! What happened to that incredible singer who blew us away in American Idol? For all the fans of AI, a big question remain: what's going on with the show? Why can't they make it as exciting as it used to be like when Ms Barrino was on? AI is becoming this Summer's Soap Opera and this article totally nails it!

Posted by: Roggiep | August 24, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

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